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Huawei GR3 2017 Unboxing, Quick Review: Awesome Value For Money

We check out Huawei’s GR3 2017!

A few weeks ago we told you about Huawei’s newest budget phone, the GR3 2017. Priced at a mere Php 8,990 and toting a premium-looking design and top-notch specs (for the price), the GR3 2017 is poised to become the budget buyer’s next bang-for-the-buck device. The phone’s been quite elusive the past few weeks, but we’ve finally managed to nab one for review today. So, let’s take a look at what the GR3 offers, shall we?

Huawei GR3 2017

  • HiSilicon Kirin 655 octa-core processor
  • ARM Mali-T830 MP2 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 5.2-inch FHD IPS display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, 2.5D glass
  • 16GB expandable storage, up to 128GB via microSD
  • 12-megapixel rear camera, BSI, phase detection AF, LED flash
  • 8-megapixel front camera
  • Dual SIM, 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat (EMUI 5.0)
  • Php 8,990

Packaging and contents:

The GR3 2017 comes in an unassuming red box that has very little in the way of presentation that lets you know what’s inside – no photos of the phone, not big, bold letters – just a few small letters in gold on the side confirming that the phone that lies within is indeed a GR3 2017.

The GR3 2017 comes with the usual stuff you’d expect from a budget phone – a pair of basic-looking headphones, USB cable, charger and a plastic case that will come in handy (more on this later).

Initial impressions: Beautiful, if fragile, design

Budget phones and high-end brands usually don’t mix. Usually the budget offerings of top-tier brands don’t bring a lot of value to the table when compared to the lineups of traditionally mid-range manufacturers, and usually have phones with inferior specs propped up by the brand’s reputation and prestige.

Not the GR3 2017 though. The phone is loaded with mid-range specs that would feel right at home in a device sold over Php 10K. In fact, the GR3 2017 actually has comparable specs to the GR5 2017, which currently sits at Php 11,990.

Before we dive into the nitty gritty of the phone’s hardware, let’s take a look at the phone’s exterior first. The GR3 2017 has a plastic body encased in glass. From afar, the phone looks pretty premium, and the only time you realize that the phone uses plastic and not metal is when you pick it up in your hands.

The phone’s plastic body feels a little fragile though, and the GR3 2017 would probably fail a bend test in a heartbeat if you really put your back into it. That being said, the GR3 2017 looks pretty nice especially for its price range.

Of course Huawei had to make a few compromises in the materials used to build the phone to get it to the price point where it currently sits at. One was the plastic body, another was using plain unprotected glass for the phone’s rear. We already have two small scratches on the back of the phone from just handling it for photos, and we’re sure that more will come if the rear stays unprotected. Thankfully Huawei includes a plastic case for that very reason in the package.

The rear of the phone holds the 12-megapixel primary camera, along with the LED flash. The fingerprint scanner is also on the rear of the phone. The power and volume buttons are on the right side, while the 3.5mm jack is on the top. The USB port is on the bottom of the phone, flanked by two speaker grilles.

The GR3 2017 uses a 5.2-inch full HD display with 2.5D glass layered on top of it. Display quality is surprisingly good for a phone in its price range, though obviously we’ll have to review the phone first to see whether or not it stacks up to other phones in the same price range.

Things get more interesting when you take a look at the phone’s internals. The GR3 2017 uses a HiSilicon Kirin 655 octa-core processor, the same processor that Huawei used on the more expensive GR5 2017. The GR3 2017 also gets the same amount of RAM at 3GB – the only main difference for the GR3 2017’s hardware versus the GR5 2017 is storage – the former only gets 16GB while the latter gets 32GB.

As such the GR3 gets roughly the same synthetic benchmark scores as the GR5 2017. The phone’s battery is a little smaller at 3000mAh, but it gets Android Nougat out of the box along with EMUI 5.0.

From our brief time with the GR3 2017, it looks like Huawei has another winner in its hands. At just Php 8,990, it’s 3K less expensive than their already excellent GR5 2017 despite having roughly the same hardware sans the dual camera. We’ll be reviewing this phone in the coming days, so expect our full review to come out later this week or early next week.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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12 Comments

  1. I have this one! My only problem (maybe I’m just nitpicking) so far with it is that, I can’t tweak the stock video player settings. The “Settings” and “Enhance Audio” can be seen on the upper right when clicked, but both can’t be accessed/changed. 😐 I went to the Huawei store from which I bought it from and the saleslady there just told me to download VLC. 😐

    1. Good advice! Huawei’s video player is not a good as the ones in google playstore such as VLC, Media player, etc.

  2. Will there be a P10 Lite in the country? Because 16gb is too small for me 🙁 and GR5 looks less less okay even though it’s more expensive. Malaysia already has the P10 Lite officially. I hope you can ask Huawei if we are going to have their latest budget phone 🙁

  3. Since it comes with free screen protector and plastic cover out of the box it well lessen your concern for smudge. the back panel is not that smudge magnet.

  4. Nope, it’s plastic. I’ve tried out one and it definitely doesn’t have the cold metal touch on the frame. Buying this definitely though. It’s a great bang for the buck phone.

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